Over the last few months, our outside spaces – whether they be in the form of a small balcony garden, shared yard or our own private patch – have become more important than ever before.
And as more of us look for ways to make the most of even the smallest of spaces, it can be difficult to know where to start.
But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. This handy how-to guide will take you through a handful of inspiring ideas to help get you thinking of ways you can transform your balcony into a mini garden oasis.
Let’s start with what you’ll need.
- Plants suitable for your balcony type
- Vegetable seeds
- Plant containers
- Gardening gloves
- Hanging baskets
- Balcony furniture
Before you start, be safe and smart
This is a great, fun and easy project. However, if you do find yourself using any power tools or new pieces of furniture or equipment, always read the instruction manuals attached. We also recommend you check out our DIY Safety Tips guide.
If you are unsure about anything, please reach out to a certified expert.
Choosing the right plants
First, choose the right kind of plants for your balcony.
If your balcony is shady, you could try geraniums, ferns or hostas as they are all beautiful options that can cope without a lot of sun. If you want to grow something edible, lettuce and parsley both thrive shadier places.
However, if you have a sunnier space, you should choose plants that can take the heat. Succulents or herbs such as oregano or rosemary are a fabulous way to brighten up your outside area plus, they smell amazing.
Be careful about the placement of your plants on the balcony. You may want to attach them to the railings or with a suitable planter to make sure they can’t fall off and harm someone below.
Top tip: If your balcony is particularly windy, you should avoid choosing plants with delicate flowers. Or you can try to create a windbreak by placing them in a shielded area.
You don’t need a legitimate garden to grow your own fresh produce at home.
Alongside your chosen flowers and herbs, you could also sow some of your own vegetable seeds. Tomatoes and carrots are both easy to grow in containers.
Top tip: An old wooden crate is perfect for this type of thing. Simply line the bottom of it with an old compost bag, add some drainage holes at the bottom and you are good to go.
Consider your containers
Some plant pots (for example, terracotta pots) can be very heavy.
Before buying any, you will want to find out the weight restrictions of your balcony.
Trough planters are often large and can look very attractive – if your balcony can take the weight of them. If not, you’ll find a handful of balcony trough kits here.
Top tip: Larger planters will give you the opportunity to grow shrubs or a variety of garden vegetables, whilst smaller pots are better for herbs and succulents. Use a variety of sizes to create a more interesting space.
Use your vertical balcony space
Unlocking the vertical space of your balcony will allow you to grow more in your outside area.
Use a trellis to give yourself more room to put your pots, or to grow vines and climbers.
You could even secure some hanging baskets to your walls with brackets. Plants like petunias and verbenas can be grown in hanging baskets and will add some stunning colour to your balcony.
Top tip: Don’t be afraid to mix and match as many colours as you like to create a bright and creative looking space.
Looking after your plants
Once you have chosen your plants, containers and where to put them, it is important not to forget about their upkeep.
Most potted plants grow best with potting soil as it promotes chlorophyll for greener, healthier foliage.
Make sure that your plants are well watered to keep the soil moist.
You may also want to use plant food or fertilisers to give your plants the best chance at life.
Top tip: Remember not to overwater your plants, as the pot will restrict the amount of soil available to hold water.
Balconies are often small and therefore you need to be smart about the furniture you choose.
You could add a garden bistro set, and even choose one that folds up easily so that it could also be stored inside if necessary.
Or, if you don’t want to invest in outdoor furniture you could add some outdoor cushions and rugs to create a cosy feel.
Top tip: If you have a particularly sunny balcony, choose brighter coloured furniture as it heats up more slowly.
Lighting and heating
Finally, to really set the mood for your new balcony garden – add some outdoor lighting and heating.
To keep warm in the evenings, add an electric heater to stop the chill from ruining your time outside.
Top tip: Stay safe on your balcony. Make sure it can hold the weight of your added decorations.
Don’t forget to upload an image of your new balcony garden to social media and tag and follow us @Homebase_uk